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Oracle of Delphi

Pontiac studies fuel economy

51 posts in this topic

Jamie LaReau

Automotive News

April 7, 2008 - 12:01 am ET

ATLANTA — Like most General Motors brands, Pontiac is considering technology such as ethanol, diesel, hybrids, direct-injection engines and six-speed transmissions to achieve better fuel economy.

"Pontiac will benefit from all the fuel economy technology, just like the other brands, but it's too early to be specific," said a source familiar with GM's plans.

Pontiac has branded itself as "seductive performance." The company wants its identity to be based on rear-wheel performance vehicles such as the Solstice roadster, G6 sedan and new flagship G8 sedan. But with high fuel prices, GM leaders know they must improve fuel economy.

"You never know what's going to happen," Brian Shipman, product manager for the G8, said at a drive event here. "We're considering a lot of different things. We're even looking at a V-6 for the sport package. There are equal opportunities coming up, but nothing firm yet."

The newly launched base G8 comes with a V-6 engine. The GT variant offers a V-8 engine. The V-8 has active fuel management — a system that shuts off four of the eight cylinders when the driver reaches a steady pace. Active fuel management delivers about a 10 percent improvement in fuel economy, Shipman said.

The V-6 engine uses a five-speed automatic transmission; the V-8 has a six-speed automatic. Shipman indicated Pontiac soon might install a six-speed transmission and direct-injection engine in the base G8. That would boost fuel efficiency. Currently, the V-6 G8 gets 17 mpg city and 25 highway.

GM officials have said they could install the company's mild hybrid system on any four-cylinder vehicle, such as the G5 coupe or Solstice, without massively reworking the vehicle's architecture. The mild hybrid system restarts the engine at stoplights and provides a slight boost upon acceleration. The mild hybrid system improves fuel economy by about 20 percent.

"Right now, I wouldn't say we have a hybrid plan — certainly not on the G8 — but the flexibility on the architecture is definitely there if we need to go that way," Shipman said.

A GM spokesman said offering E85 ethanol is probably the nearest-term solution Pontiac is considering.

Link: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/arti...paign_id=alerts

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I certainly hope direct injection and a six-speed transmission make their way to the V6 G8... even if you downsized the engine to a 3.2, you'd still get comparable performance. I believe the 3.2 JTS (DI) in the Alfa 159 makes 260 hp.

Offering only the GXP version of the Solstice would also improve Pontiac's average... :lol:

Edited by empowah
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6 speed DI would be tasty. after driving the GT this past weekend, i really don't need the smallblock and will probably prefer the v6.

Edited by regfootball
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hmmmm... from "excitement" to "seductive performance"... does this mean Pontiac is no longer adolescent?

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Six speed automatics, DI and turbocharged, smaller displacement engines are fine with me if they ensure the survival of the brand.
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No news here.

The entire auto industry will make generous use of DI in almost all engines it will spread like FI in the 80's and 6 speed trannys will be just the norm in 5-10 years or less.

The leading edge will be hybrid systems and 7 and 8 speed trannys.

Just GM promoting what we will see in all there other brands less the RWD.

And Yes Pontiac has moved on from being the adolescent brand a while ago. The adolecents all want Honda's and Subaru's.

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Wow the base V6 G8 is rated for only 17/25. Thats only one better than the much higher powered V8 model and poor by todays standards. The Saturn Aura and Malibu 3.6 engines are also rated low at 26 highway. Why is this engine so thirsty?

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I called Ms. Cleo. She said to expect lots of turbo charging, direct injection, smaller displacements and some 2 mode hybrids thrown in for good measure.

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Pontiac has branded itself as "seductive performance." The company wants its identity to be based on rear-wheel performance vehicles such as the Solstice roadster, G6 sedan and new flagship G8 sedan.[/url]

Anyone want to tell this guy that Pontiac is ingeniously branding itself as just "car"? And anyone want to point out to him that the G6 sedan is not RWD?

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Well, it's good to hear that GM is studying ways to make Pontiac, and in particular the G8, more economical. GM already has all the tools it needs in its toolbelt. Writing off the brand is very short-sighted.

One word does come to mind, though: ALPHA!

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Alpha is such a no-brainer, perfect fit for Pontiac, I have no idear why Chevrolet needs the platform, except maybe for a Camaro 6.
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So since when is the G6 RWD? :blink: (3rd paragraph)

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The most significant lines are concerning the 'mild hybrid system', and that GM can put it in any 4 cylinder car without overhauls to the car's structures. I guess this also means it is harder to put the mild hybrid in 6 and 8 cylinder GMs. Nonetheless, this is a fascinating line because it means GM has been looking into applying mild hybrid en masse, such as has been suggested here already, by myself and others.

That would be such a huge move. I have been thinking of how wonderful it would be if all luxury cars came wiht some form of the mild hybrid or full hybrid systems. They wouldn't have to change the cars cosmetically, but the sheer benefit of the additional electric motor, the regenerating characteristcs, and stop/go features of a hybrid system would go seriously long ways towards solving some of our gas consumption issues.

Luxury cars are the biggest gas guzzlers, in general. Luxury cars in general are purchased in significant numbers in massively poplous business centers throughout the US where congestion and inefficiency are heavy. There have been studies done on LA of how many hours we waste sitting on a freeway, it's not pretty. So you can see why, if I were a Washington Senator, I'd be targeting luxury cars and thier inefficieny. Generally, mass market cars are 4 cylinders and reasonably efficient 6 cylinders. Trucks are the other major sector for inefficiency. I'd also be working on systems within urban centers to get people out of thier cars more often and into mass transportation at least half the time they go places.

Thanks to PCS for posting this as it also shows GM is expressing interest in alternatives for Zeta!!!!!!!!

This is the right way to go. Finding the way forward requires seeing what would cost the least amount of resources, while offering the most amount of benefits. I think we will see people moving more towards the big car formula, which is ironic because it didn't look that way for a while. Especially around the size of Accord but offering the efficiency that and Camry offer is key. So if we can get a G8 with a mild hybrid V6 doing 30/45, for reasonable prices, or if this has to be Impala because it can be built in the US, that is the way to go. By reasonable prices, I mean we should be looking at $28k for this kind of hybrid Impala/G8/Zeta. I see no reason why we shouldn't also get a 3.2 DI and soon, offering 240 hp, but much higher fuel mileage, say 24/36 for a Malibu/G8.

Continuing to improve on product desirability and a continous goal of changing perception are Job 1 at GM. Even though Malibu is fantastic, it still has the last gen Malibu polluting the streets and offering deathly resale value to scare potential buyers away. GM must work hard at releasing fantastic products, from bottom to top, that help people forget what was there before. That I beleive precludes cancelling Zeta, since Cadillac must be RWD, and there's no other suitable large car platform for that. Unless you want Cadillac to be Lincoln and enjoy seeing BMW raking in the profits!

Edited by turbo200
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It was no seceret we would get 7-10 years of Zeta because GM has to have something eles to sell. GM will recoupe it's investment here We may see more of the Ute like vehicles with a few twist. Just look at how the new Arcadia is replacing the large SUV. a smaller truck based on a Zeta could surplant the 1/2 for many. Also drive train combo's we had not ecpected. [Ecotech]. I would not discount a weight reduction plan if they can work it economically.

Alpha's is more important now than ever and they are looking to make it the new Zeta to make it even more expandable for many uses like they did with the Zeta.

New FWD platforms will be key to imporve and take Hybrid technolgy so it really works and is cost effective.

Hybrids will become the norm for all models.

New 4 and V6 engines will have smaller displacments, DI, turbo's and hybrid systems beyond what we have now.

Trucks will see Unibody for at least the half ton class and more V6 power.

Small trucks like smaller than a S10 could be in the cards.

The trucks, Cadillac and the Vette will still have V8 power but it will be less common. Look for expanded Diesels.

Hydogen is still an option in some new platforms.

Small cars like the Smart will make a impact on many city commuters. Others will low ball the price and who ever sells the best car cheap will win in this class. The #1 rule is they need to keep them cute as cute sells crummy cars.

Folks, GM has 10 years to make some big changes and and they can do it all in one year. They are like us and have to budget it out. But this time all the cards are on the table and right now they are just waiting to see what all the goverment is going to require and what they can or can not do.

What they decide now will make a differance if they make money or lose billions of dollars in 10 years on wasted or wrong program choices.

Times like this make me glad we have the leaders we have now vs Roger Smith and others.

Anyway that is what I see coming.

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to all you said hyperV6, only one thing to say is I am waiting with bated breath.

I hope so to everything you have to say.

I am keen on seeing Zeta get a weight reduction and Ecoetec. I am also interested in seeing GM do all alluminum platforms for Caddy, in larger sedans, coupes, and sports cars, and based on Zeta fundamentals would be interesting. and could prove beneficial to lower forms of Zeta along with the lower brands.

I also would like to see Zeta Impala become a reality. GM must make this car happen, as it was said to be a game changer, and could heavily alter the perception of Chevy cars.

Edited by turbo200
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Luxury cars are the biggest gas guzzlers, in general. Luxury cars in general are purchased in significant numbers in massively poplous business centers throughout the US where congestion and inefficiency are heavy. There have been studies done on LA of how many hours we waste sitting on a freeway, it's not pretty. So you can see why, if I were a Washington Senator, I'd be targeting luxury cars and thier inefficieny. Generally, mass market cars are 4 cylinders and reasonably efficient 6 cylinders. Trucks are the other major sector for inefficiency. I'd also be working on systems within urban centers to get people out of thier cars more often and into mass transportation at least half the time they go places.

So if we can get a G8 with a mild hybrid V6 doing 30/45, for reasonable prices, or if this has to be Impala because it can be built in the US, that is the way to go. By reasonable prices, I mean we should be looking at $28k for this kind of hybrid Impala/G8/Zeta. I see no reason why we shouldn't also get a 3.2 DI and soon, offering 240 hp, but much higher fuel mileage, say 24/36 for a Malibu/G8.

Continuing to improve on product desirability and a continous goal of changing perception are Job 1 at GM. Even though Malibu is fantastic, it still has the last gen Malibu polluting the streets and offering deathly resale value to scare potential buyers away. GM must work hard at releasing fantastic products, from bottom to top, that help people forget what was there before. That I beleive precludes cancelling Zeta, since Cadillac must be RWD, and there's no other suitable large car platform for that. Unless you want Cadillac to be Lincoln and enjoy seeing BMW raking in the profits!

Luxury cars are no where near as bad as GMT900s or even the Lambdas in gas mileage. Even a gas hog like the 550i gets the same mileage as an Enclave or Acadia AWD, and the 535i and CTS get the same mileage as the Malibu and better than a G8 V6. Although your point about congestion in cities is very valid, and there should be fuel efficient luxury cars for those that idle in cities a lot and never get on a highway. Mercedes has a 30 mpg S-class hybrid coming and a diesel hybrid S-class that gets mileage of a Prius coming, Lexus will have a hybrid over every vehicle they make in a few years. Jim Taylor said that Cadillac would wait to see how successful Mercedes is with diesels before they try it, that is a huge mistake.

The mild hybrid system is good for about 2 mpg, maybe 3. That would make a V6 G8 getting 20/27 mpg, not 30/45. Since the 2.2 Ecotec is rated at 22/31 in the Cobalt and less in the HHR, I think 24/36 out of a GM V6 is not going to happen. I would like to see a smaller DI V6 in the 3.0-3.2 liter range with 240-250 hp and better mileage than the 3.6 , because the 3.6 is thirsty for some reason and 245 hp is fine for most front drive cars.

Weight reduction is key, GM has lots of heavy cars.

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I am keen on seeing Zeta get a weight reduction and Ecoetec. I am also interested in seeing GM do all alluminum platforms for Caddy, in larger sedans, coupes, and sports cars, and based on Zeta fundamentals would be interesting. and could prove beneficial to lower forms of Zeta along with the lower brands.

I also would like to see Zeta Impala become a reality. GM must make this car happen, as it was said to be a game changer, and could heavily alter the perception of Chevy cars.

I agree here, they need a Zeta Impala that is better than the Genesis, better than any Buick or Pontiac.

I would love to see aluminum Cadillacs, but it is expensive, and GM struggles with building expensive sedans, and they probably don't think they can sell a $50-60,000 CTS. I have been going on for years about how Cadillac needs to go upmarket. The CTS should be on an aluminum frame, weigh 3600 pounds, 8-speed automatic and 305 hp V6 in the base model, if it costs $50,000 so be it. An E-class is $52,000 base price and they sell just fine.

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Wow the base V6 G8 is rated for only 17/25. Thats only one better than the much higher powered V8 model and poor by todays standards. The Saturn Aura and Malibu 3.6 engines are also rated low at 26 highway. Why is this engine so thirsty?

i think the new epa procedures are effed up badly. in the buick dealer this weekend was a base lucerne with the 3.8/4 pot powertrain and the numbers were 16/25. my FIL had the same combo in his last car (he just got an 08 grand prix last week!, and he's 82 or something) and he would get 30-33 on the highway, yet the lucerne only gets 16? BS!

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On the first point, smk, I am going on your normal form and saying I am beyond underwhelmed with the moves all kuxury carmakers are making to include hybrids in thier cars. As I said, I would be in favor of all luxury cars having some form of a hybrid system, standard. Luxury cars are already expensive, they can afford to take a hit in price, or to raise thier prices by just 1-2k. Luxury cars represent a huge, gargantuan piece of the pie of sales in Los Angeles, and I am squarely talking about the entry level luxury race. the G35, 3-series, C-class, IS all are huge sellers and represent populous choices in Los Angeles. Here, it's the common AMG model that gets heads turning and nods of approval, the standard C-class is this era's Cavalier, at least in LA. So, the issue is that of all those luxury cars, none of them can be called 'efficient'. Thier mainly excess mobiles and none have a focus on fuel economy that results in something better than mainstream cars. That could be a new territory luxury cars could explore.

On your second point, I am doing a bit of wishful thinking on the rating for the NA 3.2 DI, but that's because that's where I want to see GM go. fuel economy for ecotec is not stellar, and needs to get better, as do all GM 4 and 6 cylinder engines. As for the mild hybrid though, they've just announced improvements to the battery tech, so BAS II will have improved mileage, I guess stay tuned.

On your third point. Zeta anything is what we need here. Weight reduction is a must. But sometimes you have to love the one you're with, and Zeta can produce amazing large, premium sedans, which GM is in desperate need of. Anything to do with cars, GM is in desperate need of. As for the alluminum chassis bit, I think the next CTS still needs to aim mainstream, so with a sub-CTS Alpha sedan running the range of $29k-49k, this will give CTS room to improve content, improve quality, improve powertrain, offer variety powertrain choices, improve refinement, improve ride/handling, offer weight savings measures and be priced from $37k-55k. The one that should feature alluminum chassis is the 7-series competitor, along with any performance car Cadillac is looking into, aside from the entry level car.

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to all you said hyperV6, only one thing to say is I am waiting with bated breath.

I hope so to everything you have to say.

I am keen on seeing Zeta get a weight reduction and Ecoetec. I am also interested in seeing GM do all alluminum platforms for Caddy, in larger sedans, coupes, and sports cars, and based on Zeta fundamentals would be interesting. and could prove beneficial to lower forms of Zeta along with the lower brands.

I also would like to see Zeta Impala become a reality. GM must make this car happen, as it was said to be a game changer, and could heavily alter the perception of Chevy cars.

The one sad thing I did leave out is that I am affraid of how much the cost will rise in 10 years to where it will be hard to afford anything.

He who sells the best car cheap will win. THis will be a hard challange.

Cost is more important than any HP rating or what wheel drive is offered. When most new car buyers buy a car based on how much the monthly payment is that should send a signal to all of us. Hyundia figured this out a while ago. Good car great warranty cheap price.

As much as I would like to see a Impala Zeta it will never be a game changer. The Impala will always be second to the new Malibu as the BU is now your volume market. Volume markets are where you make your money. A larger RWD Impala would never sell over 100,000 units a year.

If you sell the Impala too cheap you don't make money and if you sell it for too much people will move to more expensive brands. The Impala would have to sell below the G8 and there is little room.

Chevy=Value and the is little profit in a $27,000 Impala and few sales over $30,000. The G8 and CTS are lurking in this area already and the Malibu is around $25,000.

Chevy would be better suited taking the money amaking the Malibu a even better car and making the Camaro the RWD value coupe.

Chevy has too many models now.

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The compact entry level luxury cars aren't that bad in mileage, an Acura TL beats a Malibu V6, the MKZ is about the same, maybe 1 mpg better, the Audi A4 2.0 gets about 23-24 mpg, that is almost as good as the Cobalt. I think the problem GM has, is their luxury cars are all big, and they don't have small, premium cars like the Mini Cooper, Volvo C30, A4, IS20, etc. Personally, I wouldn't consider any of those cars, but for people that live in NY, or LA and are always in the city, not on highways or climbing hills, the power to economy ratio of those cars fits their needs.

The BTS better not be $29,000, Camrys cost that much. Cadillac needs to aim higher. At some point they need to compete with the 5-series and E-Class. Cadillac needs a mid level car, a $37,000 car interior won't match up the the $53,000 E350. Even if Zeta is the best platform GM has ever made (which I am not convinced of yet), will people pay $90-100,000 for a car built on it. Maybe if they can do Sigma II in steel for the CTS at $45k, they can do an aluminum version for a CLS-style STS that is $55-70k, and price the big car at $$85,000+.

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to take this thread deeper off point....

here is a cost analysis/market position for the various cars in the 20k-40k range, according to turbo:

malibu-larger EP II sedan, long wheelbase, total interior volume larger than current Impala 350k sales/year $20k-29

impala- zeta sedan built alongside camaro $25k-35k, variety engine choices, potential diesel availability

I say if they aren't going to do Impala zeta, don't bother doing it at all. Impala Epsilon would only encroach on Malibu too mcuh.

pontiac G6 Alpha $23k-32k RWD counterpart, BMW like ride characteristics, actual performance, upscale demeanor, basic G6 can be pretty basic

G8 $26k-35k in current positioning, only offering more equipment, and three engine choices, keep the V8 reserved for a more expensive G8, starting at $33k. base engine choice should be a smaller V6

Pontiac, and GM on a whole need to start figuring out that great press and great customer word of mouth create buzz. they need to get with the program and start making real driver's cars. Cars like the 1-series, and all of BMW's lineup has been built on massive interest and appeal of great driving cars. the same can be said of honda, that one key reason they have such loyal buyers is because the level of driver interaction is unparalleled in thier price class.

Buick Lacrosse $30k-$44k the upcoming concept will be the judge of how well Buick's newest sedan can be positioned in the prime entry level lux sedan category this could potentially make up for some CTS buyers looking for a cheap luxury sedan

Sub Lacrosse Regal/Skylark $24k-34k fairly compact, very well damped, executive compact with luxury positioning\

zeta Buick stately, curvaceous, elegant, strong $42k-55k to attract DTS customers [you will need the right kind of elegant stand out bold design, original, but drawing on the right Buicks of the past that had presence and luxury]

Cadillac [has to take baby steps in moving upmarket, so the next generation should be priced even slightly higher]

Caddy must take great steps to continue to hone in on what it's market potential is, where the ride/handling balance should go, the design reach the brand should have. The ride/handling tradeoff is crucial. they need to go even higher than what they did with CTS, they must go for the gold standard and continue to reach the point BMW has so well marked for itself.

B-series $29k-44k must offer incredible original Caddy style, something bold and different, yet in keeping with current themes. must be an incredible car to drive.

C-series $37k-55k[must move upmarket. the price class must fit the size class, Cadillac can still be cheaper mid sedan just not as cheap as it is now, this can allow premium feel of 'CTS' to improve above what it is now.

D-series $50k-70k GM must make this sedan truly great and awe-inspiring. None of the corner cutting or half-baked feel of the STS. This must be a car not price-pointed in development, instead developed, refined, precisely maintained, with a complete air of quality and solidarity to compete. Remember you are going against cars that have a reputation for durability in the form of S-class, 7-series, etc. Even though they may be considered 'unreliable' to many here, these cars give a sense of stupendous durability, longevity in thier drive along with the substance of the parts, aura of quality.

So, to me, there is room for Impala.

Edited by turbo200
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The BTS better not be $29,000, Camrys cost that much. Cadillac needs to aim higher. At some point they need to compete with the 5-series and E-Class. Cadillac needs a mid level car, a $37,000 car interior won't match up the the $53,000 E350. Even if Zeta is the best platform GM has ever made (which I am not convinced of yet), will people pay $90-100,000 for a car built on it. Maybe if they can do Sigma II in steel for the CTS at $45k, they can do an aluminum version for a CLS-style STS that is $55-70k, and price the big car at $$85,000+.

the problem I see with moving Caddy so upscale so fast, is that, so far, GMs engineers don't seem up to the task. Whether it's the quality of materials, the refinement of powertrain, refinement of suspension, steering feel.....CTS doesn't seem to measure up to cars like the 5-series in total. Those cars keep moving up the price ladder, and they keep getting better and better, but CTS does feel much more like an entry level car than those.

Also, the point you mentioned that Zeta doesn't seem like a platform that could command upwards of $70k pricing. It's not that it couldn't but this would be left to the details of the design and quality. Engineering the platform would be the first imperative and would have to be there to be able to compete. I think the platform, the drive and ride could potentially be $70k-class, but what about the rest. GM has only proven they can do great detailing on concept cars, as far as I'm concerned.

Then there's the issue of GM wanting to position the Zeta sedan to retain DTS buyers, so while we're offering conjecture on an LS430-priced Caddy, GM seems intent on cheaping out and attracting the lower scale buyers.

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I would like to see all Chevy cars stay under $30K accept the Camaro and Vette.

Chevy should be the milage leader and Value leader.

If you want a nicer FWD go to Saturn.

IF you want RWD Zeta and Alpha performance or one FWD Mini Cooper like adult performance car you buy Pontiac. 4-5 car is all you need with several special sub models. The G8 is a good example with a Sedan, Ute and Possible coupe none of which Chevy sells. The same could be done with the Alpha.

If you want a near Luxury car of SUV You buy Buick. Again 4-5 vehicles are all you need.

Luxury Cadillac all the way.

Right now if you take away the Fleet sales and just dropped the Impala as it is it would be missed little. The Bu could fill this area well with a Police package and taxi package. The money taken from the Impala and used to improve the Malibu and replace the Cobalt with a true Civic beater would fill sales sheet at GM once they convince the public they are worhty cars. Building a better car is not enough you have to prove it now.

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